You Only Live Once

Work and Travel USA is a privately run company that is a part of an international cultural exchange program, boasting more than 100,000 students per year. Work and Travel USA is partnered with the United States Department of State’s Summer Work Travel Program, which provides foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacation from college or university to experience and to be exposed to the people and way of life in the United States.

This is Kübra Kılınç from Turkey. Going abroad was her biggest dream despite of her family. Let’s see if she could make her dreams come true!

Everything started with a penny bank. I was reading articles about travelling, looking at photos and dreaming about meeting different cultures for a long time. I created a penny box from a jar with a colorful paper written “for abroad” on and I started to save some money. Forget about abroad, I wasn’t even able to get permission from my parents to go outside until this time. I was the only child of my family, so they were too afraid if I would ever get into trouble. But how could I manage to go abroad then? I knew that I would only live once, so I decided to be stubborn about this topic against my parents and they realised that they had nothing to do but let me go. Everything starts here now.

I was searching for possible programmes that I could go for a travelling and then I found Work and Travel which was very convenient for me because of the circumstances and possibilities. I applied for it blindfolded and after all the process and lots of documents and appyling for a visa, I was finally in the USA. I didn’t care whether the transportation took 18 hours from Turkey to the USA (including connections) or didn’t I eat anything for 24 hours. I was in the USA, that was all that mattered to me. I was in Williamsburg, Virginia working as a cashier of an ice cream shop. It lasted 3 months and I travelled around the USA for 1 month. I would get my salary by a check once in two weeks. I had a right to work at least 32 hours in a week. When I worked more than 40, it would be called as “overtime” and I would get one and a half more than what I got per hour. This was the first time I bought something expensive with my own money, a smartphone!

It was in September when I started to travel around the USA. I visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and New York.

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WAT helped me get on my feet. This was the first time I got to live away from my family, city and country. I was all alone in this journey. I made my own money, gave my own decisions, travelled around the US alone. Now I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do alone. Now I feel like stronger and more mature. During work, I got to soak in so many different cultures and find many places I can now call home outside my own hometown. I developed my English skills in 4 months and now I believe I got a head start in my graduate career. After the flashback of my WAT experience, I’ve promised myself one more time, I will follow my dreams because I only live once.

This article is part of “Cro – EU – Planet Earth” project which is funded by the European Union. Objective of our project is to inform Croatian youth and involve them in various educational, work related, volunteering and traveling opportunities. If you want to be updated on various opportunities “Cro – EU – Planet Earth”, please subscribe to our mailing list by sending us email on urbanamladez@gmail.com with title “Subscribe” and put in your name and surname and year of birth.